Humanity & Inclusion’s teams in Togo are taking action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our priority is to help the most vulnerable people understand the importance of taking basic precautionary measures. We’re also helping others cope with their fear of the virus.
How does the virus spread? How can a person protect themselves? What’s best way to help people with disabilities, who are often the most vulnerable? Humanity & Inclusion tackles these questions and more.
Spreading awareness messages far and wide
Humanity & Inclusion’s team drives around the streets of Togo’s capital, Lomé, broadcasting prevention messages through loudspeakers mounted on the roof of their vehicles. “It works really well because people want clear information on how to protect themselves and their loved ones,” explains Irène Manterola, Humanity & Inclusion's country director in Togo. “There are a lot of mixed signals out there, so it’s not easy for everyone to navigate.”
Basic precautionary measures adapted to the most vulnerable
For many, the recommended precautionary measures are impossible to apply. For example, what about a wheelchair user who needs help bathing or eating? “Social distancing, okay! But people with disabilities or older people—individuals who normally need a caregiver or health or medical assistant, cannot be left to fend for themselves. We need caregivers to be able to protect themselves, while also attending to the most vulnerable,” Irène adds.
Making hygiene accessible to all
The price of hygiene products in Togo has soared in recent weeks—including a seven-fold increase in the cost of sanitizer gel. This makes it even more difficult for people to take precautionary measures. To combat these challenges, Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are making bleach and soap for hygiene kits, so that the most vulnerable have access to these essential items. “We hand them out to our beneficiaries and in the poorest areas, where there is more overcrowding.”
Radio programs to reassure the population
The pandemic has generated a lot of fear in Togo. To help people manage this fear, our teams have recorded a series of radio segments. “One of the biggest problems we face is how to gauge the information. People need to know how serious the situation is without making them feel completely helpless,” says Irène. Building on the success of these programs, we are now working with the country’s union of psychiatrists and psychologists to create a free counseling helpline that anyone can call seeking support.
Humanity & Inclusion in Togo
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Togo for nearly 23 years and implements multiple projects. This work is particularly in aid of people with disabilities and highly vulnerable groups. We work to improve the healthcare services provided to mothers and children, we promote inclusive education, and much more. Learn more about our work in Togo.
For people living in the world's poorest countries, accessing information looks very different than it does in the United States. Living far from town, many remote villagers know little or nothing of the pandemic.
As COVID-19 devastates communities around the globe, Humanity & Inclusion is going the extra mile to ensure that as many people as possible, especially people with disabilities, know how to protect themselves.
Learning how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is the only way to prevent countless tragedies and to mitigate the spread. Humanity & Inclusion's teams have launched 72 COVID-19 projects in dozens of countries to protect and care for the people that often get overlooked.
Life is harsh in Fokontany Ambodimanary, part of Madagascar's Maevatanana district. Here, people struggle to provide food, clothing and care for their families. COVID-19 can seem like a distant threat. But the emergency is becoming very real.
Marcellin, 36, was trained by Humanity & Inclusion to help teach people here to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A member of the local relief team, he makes daily visits to the homes of people with disabilities, people who are older or highly isolated, and the most vulnerable families in his community.
He teaches them how to protect themselves and the people around them.
“We need to wash our hands regularly”
Albert, a father of five, has taken the lessons on board. The whole family gathered in front of their home and listened carefully recently, as Marcellin explained the basic precautionary measures to protect themselves from the virus. He took his time, showed them the proper way to wash their hands, and answered their questions.
“I learned that we need to wash our hands regularly with soap and stay at least one meter (or three feet, the WHO guidance) from other people to protect ourselves from the virus,” explains Albert.
Preventing the virus' spread
In regions of Madagascar not yet under lock down, it is essential that everyone is able to access information, particularly the most vulnerable people living in highly remote areas.
Marcellin is keenly aware of the importance of his mission. “The community takes a close interest in the messages I share with them about this terrible virus,” he says. “I’m glad to be able to do my civic duty.”
Humanity & Inclusion in Madagascar
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Madagascar for nearly 35 years and implements multiple projects. This work is particularly in aid of people with disabilities and highly vulnerable groups living in areas regularly devastated by cyclones and floods. Learn more about our work in Madagascar.
Our team is taking special measures in Madagascar in response to the health emergency, following several confirmed cases of COVID-19. As part of two projects organized with CARE International and funded by the European Union, local relief teams are being trained to convey core prevention messages on the disease and to limit its spread. The teams are staffed by volunteers—men and women of all ages—including people with disabilities.
Relief teams adjust to the emergency
The local relief teams involved in these two projects normally work on prevention and natural disaster and weather risk management, to help people develop responses to cyclones, floods, etc. One project targets more than 300,000 people, including 300 highly vulnerable families, 60 schools and 43 disaster risk management committees. Another targets 412,000 people, including older people and people with disabilities, along with 23 local organizations. Local relief teams are adjusting projects in order to raise awareness of the disease and teach others how to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.
Providing vital information
We’re sharing essential information on the virus--its transmission, the symptoms, suspected cases and people at risk, but also social distancing, hand washing, routine prevention measures, practical advice and other ways of raising awareness of health and protection measures to combat COVID-19. Humanity & Inclusion is training the members of the local relief teams, teaching them how to protect themselves and raise awareness amongst the people they assist. The learning aids used, such as posters and leaflets, comply with international standards. Posters will be displayed in each sector of the village communities where we work and in schools supported by the project. Specific and adapted advices will be provided to those with specific communication needs, such as Deaf people, people with hearing disabilities, and those with visual disabilities.
Training has already begun
Training sessions have already begun in the regions of Boeny, Betsiboka and Diana, and particularly in the Fokontany of Ambalavola, in the urban district of Diego. Participants were asked to stay a minimum of one meter (3 feet) apart and to refrain from any physical contact. Although the twelve members of this local relief team are more familiar to sharing information about weather-related natural disaster risks, such as cyclones and floods, they understand the pressing need for this initiative, faced with the epidemic. Each member follows the news closely and takes their role seriously.
A member of the local relief team and deputy head of the Ambalavola Fokontany, Paul has already begun raising awareness amongst the community. “At a gathering this morning, we asked beneficiaries to stay one meter (3 feet) apart. This training is very important because some information is not known here,” he explains. “The training allows us to separate the facts from the rumors and fake news circulating now, and to get across evidence-based, focused and comprehensive messages on how to prevent the disease. We also taught them new things, like hand-washing techniques. Now it is our turn to play our part.”
Photo: A beneficiary holds a flyer in Madagascar that was created by Humanity & Inclusion to share awareness messages about fighting the spread of COVID-19.
In many low-income and middle-income countries, only 5%-15% of people who require assistive devices, including artificial limbs, have access to them. In areas that are remote or dangerous, specialized health professionals can be scarce and materials expensive. Poorly made or unadjusted, artificial limbs can make life uncomfortable for patients by causing skin sores, pressure wounds, and muscle fatigue.Read more
400,000 people were affected by cyclone Enawo, which hit Madagascar in early March. According to the latest reports, 250 people were injured, 78 were killed, and 18 are missing. Many homes and public buildings have been damaged or destroyed by the cyclone and floods and a total of 1,244 classrooms have been destroyed and hundreds damaged.Read more
Cyclone Enawo has passed through Madagascar and will end its course in the Anosy region. Madagascar authorities have reported severe damage caused by the cyclone and the subsequent flooding, especially in Antahala, where they believe 80% of homes were destroyed as well as 100% of crops.Read more
Humanity & Inclusion promotes Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) of people with disabilities and vulnerable populations in development and fragile settings. View the flier here.
Since 1982, Humanity & Inclusion has worked in more than 30 countries to respond to the mental health and psychosocial needs of people facing humanitarian crises and/or living in precarious contexts. Our teams promote optimal mental health and foster social participation in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. View the flier here.
HIV & Disability in West Africa: A Combined Analysis of 4 Studies Conducted in Burkina Faso, Niger, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde (2019)
(Only available in French) Humanity & Inclusion works to ensure that no one is forgotten. This research paper responds to the call of UNAIDs and ensuring that no one is forgotten in the response to the epidemic. This paper includes four studies which seek to better understand the situation by HIV-related situation of disabled men and women living in West Africa. View the paper in French here.
This Kisumu County strategy outlays the principles, objectives and actionable activities that the Department of Health and Sanitation of the County Government of Kisumu, Kenya commits to undertake in order to provide the highest attainable standards of health; particularly sexual and reproductive health. View the strategy here.
Seeing the invisible: Sexuality-related knowledge, attitudes and behavior of children and youth with disabilities in China (2019)
Young people with disabilities have the same right to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) as their peers without disabilities, but their needs and rights are often overlooked. The findings of this study, which was initiated by UNESCO and Humanity & Inclusion, aims to provide evidence to support decision-making by government agencies, educators, development workers and other relevant stakeholders regarding developing and implementing disability-inclusive SRH and sexuality education policies and program for young people in China. View the report here.
Mental health problems are commonplace and affect more than one in four people worldwide. They are responsible for a quarter of all disabilities. This document aims to provide a basis for exploring these concepts as part of more in-depth work, including an update of the 2011 mental health framework document. View the document here.
Humanity & Inclusion works to prevent violence based on disability, gender and age and its disabling consequences in development and fragile settings, as well as to provide holistic care for survivors of violence, exploitation and abuse. HI’s goal is to ensure that people with disabilities and other at-risk groups are less exposed to violence and can live in dignity, independently, and with control over their own lives. View the flier here.
Humanity & Inclusion promotes the awareness raising, prevention, early detection, and care management of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes in development and fragile settings View the flier here.
People with disabilities are living with HIV. This paper explains why they must be included in virus prevention education, provided access to treatments, and rehabilitation. What's more, people living with HIV are not receiving proper rehabilitation care as the virus causes impairments. View the article here.
Road safety is a growing development and public health issue. Globally, road crashes are close to becoming one of the first five causes of death, and non-fatal injuries heavily impact on disability. Indeed, each year, road crashes kill 1.25 million people and injure as many as 50 million others. View the briefing paper here.
This document is intended to provide guidance and a framework for each stage of the project cycle for projects tackling the theme of diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors. View report here and brief format here.
This analysis paper presents the ‘know-how’ acquired by Humanity & Inclusion in its diabetes prevention and control projects. View report here.
A policy paper that presents a design for a national plan on psychosocial interventions, aiming to develop and promote the national plan established during the July 2006 war. View report here.
As It Is: Research Findings on the Knowledge, Attitude, Practice and Access to HIV and AIDS Information and Services Amongst Persons with Disability (2007)
Scientifically gathered information concerning the knowledge, attitude and practice among people with disabilities in areas surrounding HIV and AIDS. View report here.
Humanity & Inclusion in Madagascar
Humanity & Inclusion has been present in Madagascar for over 30 years, and currently runs several multifaceted projects to address the needs of the country’s vulnerable populations.
Madagascar has experienced political instability in the past which has resulted in the weakening of the country’s economy. About 63.5 percent of the population lives in rural areas where 85 percent of people who live below the poverty line are concentrated.
It is estimated that one quarter of the population, five million people, are currently living in situations that leave them highly vulnerable to natural disasters.
Currently Humanity & Inclusion in Madagascar employs 108 staff members who work tirelessly to:
- Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis and provide preventative measures
- Improve disability prevention in prison populations
- Improve the health of mothers and children
- Promote inclusive education
- Implement CRPD to support the disability movement
Lymphatic Filariasis Care and Prevention
Humanity & Inclusion works to eliminate Lymphatic filariasis and Lymphedema by raising awareness of the disease among communities, patients, their families and building the capacities of health professionals.
In addition, Humanity & Inclusion oversees the production of shoes adapted to patients living with Lymphedema and provides consistent follow-up and assistance.
Disability Prevention in Prison Populations
In partnership with the Ministry of Justice and other civil society organizations, Humanity & Inclusion collaborates to improve conditions in five prisons across Madagascar by:
- Optimizing management of infirmaries
- Implementing activities that promote collective and individual hygiene
- Raising awareness of prisoners' rights
- Supporting educational and socio-cultural activities related to the prevention and protection against violence in prisons
Unique to Humanity & Inclusion, this project also emphasizes a psychosocial intervention with specific objectives which include:
- Supporting professional training for psychosocial professionals
- Conducting individual therapy sessions and discussion groups
- Helping detainees maintain ties with their families
Maternal and Child Health
In partnership with international and local organizations, Humanity & Inclusion works to reduce morbidity and maternal and infant mortality by improving access to maternal and child health care facilities in the regions of Itasy and Bongolova.
Humanity & Inclusion works to ensure that all children, regardless of their vulnerability or disability, have access to education. The organization trains teachers to develop the skills necessary to effectively educate children with different needs.
The MIRAZO project supports the disability movement in promoting and monitoring the application of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The organization is mobilizing a national campaign on the rights of people with disabilities by building the capacity of civil society actors.
Our Past Work
Humanity & Inclusion has been in Madagascar since 1986, fostering a culture of dignity, access, and inclusion for ALL people with disabilities since 2008. Over time, we have evolved our work to meet the dynamic needs of communities where we serve.
Read on to learn more about our past work in Madagascar, and consider investing in our future.
From 1987 to 1996, Humanity & Inclusion focused its efforts on providing rehabilitation services to the vulnerable populations of Madagascar.
Action Nord Sud Period
Humanity & Inclusion centered its operation around structuring the non-profit sector in the country from 1996 to 2005.
From 2006 to 2014, the organization refocused its work on disability.
Cyclone Haruna hit the south west coast of Madagascar on February 22. The storm caused at least 18 deaths and forced 22,000 people from their homes.